|The 40 In 40 Days Project.|
16. The Perfect Moment (1994)
The Au Pairs
|Summer 1994. K
and I have taken the car over to France, driving slowly down to Burgundy
via Epernay, staying at some carefully selected hotels en route and
dining in fine style each evening. After seeing something of Burgundy,
we have left the car in Dijon, where we have hired a small boat to take
us down through the canal system, into the River Soane, and as far South
It is a couple of days into the trip.
It is lunchtime, on a gloriously warm and sunny day. We are waiting to
go through a lock, but – this being France, where meal times are a
sacred ritual – the lock is shut for the lunch hour. We are in the
middle of nowhere. There is no-one around.
We moor up, and have a simple lunch on
the roof of the boat. Bread, cheese and wine. The cheeses are all local
to the region, bought during our stay in Nuit-St-Georges. The wine was
bought directly from a local producer, picked more or less at random
from our guide, who turned out to be a professor of oenology, no less.
Both cheese and wine taste sublime. Meanwhile, the portable Discman,
connected to a couple of mini-speakers, is playing the “Talking
Timbuktu” collaboration between Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder.
Sunshine. Warmth. Tranquillity.
Solitude. Countryside. Water. Wine. Cheese. Music. Each other.
Do you know that scene in “Stardust
Memories” where Woody Allen is describing sitting in a room with
Charlotte Rampling, on an ordinary day, doing nothing in particular,
when somehow all the constituent elements unexpectedly fuse together in
a moment of transcendent perfection, and everything feels right, and
there is this sense of total, true, unalloyed happiness, right through
to the very core of his soul?
Well...this is my moment.
My perfect moment!